Volunteering or Serving?

Giving Vs Receiving

Is it better to give than to receive or better to receive than to give?

In the Bible, the answer is that it is better to give than to receive. But as we carry out our lives, it often feels like it is better to receive than to give. When we receive something, we feel a sense of joy because we have gained. When we give, we have to find joy in giving others joy. And that can be difficult at times. At least, it was for me when I first started giving back and volunteering.


Volunteering in My Own Way

Honestly, I volunteered, not out of a heart to give back, but out of a heart to gain. I wanted the hours, the acknowledgment of man that I was volunteering and being a good Christian, and I wanted to use it to advance my educational and career goals. I knew that volunteering was something people did to be “good” and to “make an impact” and have nice things to say during interviews with potential employers.

Volunteering definitely does have those as its perks, but I was looking at it in the completely wrong way. I was looking at it from my self-centered, selfish point of view rather than the point of view of God or others.


Jesus’ Example of Serving

In the Bible, we see Jesus give an example of a servant’s heart. At the First Coming, he came to serve others and although he was rejected by society for what he did, he did not stop carrying out the will of the Father. Yes, he did not go to soup kitchens or pick up trash at weekend clean-up days, but he healed, preached, taught, rebuked, instructed, forgave, and bore the cross for us. This is a heart that truly serves, rather than one who just volunteers.

It is easy to volunteer myself for a shift or an event. But what I learned through my time at San Francisco Zion Church is that I need to serve others, not just mimic serving. Volunteering and serving shouldn’t be limited to an event or two. It should be something that I try to carry out in my daily life, along with the other tenets and teachings of Christ that are left for us in the Bible.


Learning to Serve, Not Just Volunteer

Together with my brothers and sisters of faith, I am learning how to serve. And I have to admit, it was difficult to feel good about it at first, but the more and more I think about others and less about myself, and the more I think about Christ rather than my own complaints and grumbles, the greater my joy has become. As I am able to share the love I have received, I feel like I am receiving so much more love.

That’s what I love about my ministry. It’s a crucial part of my life now and I am grateful that God has guided me to a community where we are learning to serve, not with empty words or actions, but out of a sincere heart.

I hope you can join us, wherever you may be, to share this heart and walk in the path that Christ did long before us.

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